Leaving Louisiana

After five weeks, I am heading north, but not before I spend a few more days “down south” and then a little time exploring in the Carolinas.

I continue to be amazed with the amount of water in the lower southern states. Of course, I should be prepared having studied U.S. geography, but that was decades ago and frankly, it was not sufficient for what one sees first hand. I have to think that their state budgets are overwhelmed with the cost of road-building. It isn’t simply a question of bridges! Hundreds of miles of roads are one continuous bridge that otherwise would require a boat to get from here to there.

I left New Orleans on Friday and drove the four and a half hours to Montgomery, Ala. for a long-awaited meeting with the Equal Justice Initiative. They are interested in the Louisiana 16 story as it reflects the horrific 50-year concentrated practice of human trafficking known as the Domestic Slave Trade. However, the reason for the meeting had to do with a research project in which I was immersed a few years ago that continues to haunt me. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the death of young Allie Thompson by a mob lynching in Culpeper. Come November of this year, we will offer a series of programs to remember, to reconcile and most importantly to heal. Stay tuned for more on that topic.

Leaving Montgomery that same day, I headed for Birmingham to spend a few days with my sister, still writing and researching.

From here I will drive east to Augusta, Ga. and then on to North Carolina where I will research the history of those marvelous records found in the old trunk regarding Jones County, N.C.

So often I talk about the need to do more than gather data and the next several days will be dedicated to analyzing, organizing and putting together the findings. No doubt there will remain gaps in the documentation, but at this point I am most comfortable with the evidence; evidence that will enable an instructional and entertaining story.

While in New Orleans, I had the opportunity to visit and review sacramental records in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Sisters of the Holy Family. I did not find records pertaining to the specific individuals on my list. However, I am pleased and satisfied to note that these records have been examined and I can conclude that the person in question was most likely not baptized by the Catholic Church in New Orleans. The church keeps meticulous records; therefore, the discovery leads me in another direction.

Edward Davis, son of Lucinda Cook and grandson of Jenny Cook was owned by Mrs. William Taylor (Lucy). Lucy Taylor was a practicing Episcopalian, not a Catholic. The next foray will be to examine the baptismal records of the Episcopal Diocese of New Orleans. See how this works?

It took me three phone calls and more than a year to receive permission to visit the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans. It took me 24 hours, several phone calls and a personal visit to receive permission to review the archives at the Sisters of the Holy Family. Their records are full of data and they could not have been more welcoming or helpful. I worked directly with Sister Carolyn, the archivist and believe she is the best!

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